One result of the recent emphasis on product quality and SPC is the realization that an assembly worker on the line has relatively small impact on product quality. It has been estimated that 85% of product quality is due to the corporate system and 15% is a function of the way the product is assembled on the line. Much of the 85% portion of product quality can be attributed to the decisions made in the design and development process.
This paper reviews the context for R&D work, and it discusses issues involved in managing that context. Techniques are suggested for supporting an engineering commitment to improve product quality.